Quick Facts on the Risks of E-cigarettes for Kids, Teens, and Young Adults


The use of e-cigarettes is unsafe for kids, teens, and young adults.

 Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine. Nicotine is highly addictive and can harm adolescent brain development, which continues into the early to mid-20s.1

 E-cigarettes can contain other harmful substances besides nicotine.

 Young people who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to smoke cigarettes in the future.

Why Is Nicotine Unsafe for Kids, Teens, and Young Adults?

 Most e-cigarettes (vapes) contain nicotine—the addictive drug in regular cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products.

 A CDC study found that 99% of the e-cigarettes sold in assessed venues in the United States contained nicotine.1

 Some vape product labels do not disclose that they contain nicotine, and some vape liquids marketed as containing 0% nicotine have been found to contain nicotine.

 Nicotine can harm the developing adolescent brain.2 The brain keeps developing until about age 25.

 Using nicotine in adolescence can harm the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control.2

 Each time a new memory is created or a new skill is learned, stronger connections – or synapses – are built between brain cells. Young people’s brains build synapses faster than adult brains. Nicotine changes the way these synapses are formed.

 Using nicotine in adolescence may also increase risk for future addiction to other drugs.2

What Are the Other Risks of E-cigarettes for Kids, Teens, and Young Adults?

 Scientists are still learning about the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes.

 Some of the ingredients in e-cigarette aerosol could also be harmful to the lungs in the long-term. For example, some e-cigarette flavorings may be safe to eat but not to inhale because the gut can process more substances than the lungs.1

 Defective e-cigarette batteries have caused some fires and explosions, a few of which have resulted in serious injuries.

Children and adults have been poisoned by swallowing, breathing, or absorbing e-cigarette liquid through their skin or eyes.